The 9 Best Alternatives to Paper Towels of 2022

Our top pick is Mieco Reusable Unpaper Towels.

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Cleaning with a kitchen towel

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Paper towels have many great uses, whether it's cleaning up the nasty spill, the pet accident, or using them to wipe down the counter. However, they're one-time-use, which makes them wasteful and unsustainable. Around 13 billion pounds are used in the United States each year, and according to The Atlantic, Americans spend about $5.7 billion on paper towels for use at home.

To cut down on the waste and cost of paper towels, you can switch to reusable ‘unpaper’ towels, cotton dish cloths, or even reusable rolls. You can avoid using paper towels in many ways, especially by using these alternatives to single-use towels. You can invest your time and money in more versatile, durable options. If you want to go even further into a zero-waste kitchen, Treehugger is here to help guide you.

Here are best alternatives to paper towels:

Best Overall

Mioeco Reusable Unpaper Towels

4.8
mioeco-reusable-unpaper-towels

Amazon

Mioeco's Reusable Unpaper Towels can last for years unlike paper towels. They also improve in absorbency each time they are washed. The towels are GOTS certified, which is a worldwide textile processing standard for organic fibers and includes social and ecological criteria. Another plus of Mioeco’s towels is that they're produced in a solar-powered facility with carbon-neutral manufacturing.

The towels come in a pack of 10 and are each 10 x 10 inches, but Mioceo also offers a 20-pack. You can use them as napkins, just for drying dishes or cleaning spills.

Price at time of publish: $25

Best for Drying Dishes

Public Goods Cotton Kitchen Towels

Public Goods Cotton Kitchen Towels

Courtesy of Public Goods

Public Goods are the best for dishes because they're soft and absorbent. The towels are made from Turkish cotton, which is handy for everything from cleaning spills to drying dishes. They are even gentle enough to use on skin because they are free from harmful pesticides and dyes, so keep a few handy to dry hands after washing up in the kitchen.

The towels come in a minimalistic design and also include a small loop to allow you to hang them up for drying. The cotton towels are also GOTS-certified and come in a two-piece set.

Price at time of publish: $10

Best for Scrubbing

Clean Planetware Mayan Loofah

Clean Planetware Mayan Loofah

Courtesy of Package Free

With its scrubby texture, the Mayan Loofah serves as a replacement for your plastic dishwashing brush or sponge. The loofahs are procured from a single-family farm in Guatemala and are grown from a a Mayan heirloom variety. They are also grown free from pesticides and herbicides. 

The loofah will come flat, but once it's rinsed with water, it will expand to full size. The loofah is also completely compostable and biodegradable after its useful lifespan, and it also comes at an affordable cost.

Price at time of publish: $4

Best for Cleaning Up Spills

Three Bluebirds Reusable Swedish Dishcloth

4.7
Sunflower Reusable Swedish Dishcloth

Courtesy of Three Bluebirds

This would not be the first time Treehugger recommends Swedish dishcloths or Three Bluebirds. These dishcloths are made up of a highly absorbent mix of cellulose and cotton and also dry fast so bacteria does not breed. They can be used to wash dishes or wipe up spills. After each use, squeeze out the leftover moisture, or wash and air dry them. This will help them last for months.

These dishcloths come in fun designs, printed with only water-based inks, so they're not only useful, they're also a fun addition to your kitchen decor. The whimsical designs include everything from chickens and artichokes to bacon and eggs and holiday patterns.

Price at time of publish: $7

Best Reusable Towel

Seedling by Grove Reusable Paper Towel

Seedling by Grove Reusable Paper Towel

Courtesy of Grove Collaborative

If you can’t find yourself switching completely to cloth rolls, Grove Collaborative’s Reusable Paper Towel could be the one for you. They're an affordable option and last for up to a week. Just wipe up spills, then rinse and reuse for the next time (but avoid using on surfaces that may be contaminated with microbes, such as raw chicken juices, to avoid spreading potential illness-causing pathogens).

These paper towels are made from 100 percent bamboo, which regenerates faster than trees. Grove Collaborative also is a Certified B Corporation, and the towels are made from FSC-certified bamboo fibers. They contain no dyes, inks or scents.

Price at time of publish: $13

Best Budget Towel

Zero Waste Club Organic Cotton Dish Towel

Zero Waste Club Organic Cotton Dish Towel

Courtesy of Zero Waste Club

These dish towels are made up of 100 percent organic cotton and were produced with no fertilizer during the farming of the cotton. The towel is 15.7 x 15.7 inches and comes in five different colors. It's a versatile product as the organic cotton is great for drying dishes and wiping hands, too. 

To take care of your towel, hand wash or machine wash on delicate, then air or tumble dry. It's not recommended to use fabric softener, which could affect the towel's absorbency. At the end of the towels' lifecycle, you can cut them up and add them to your compost bin.

Price at time of publish: $9

Best Reusable Roll

Marley’s Monsters Rolled Unpaper Towels

4.8
Marley's Monsters Reusable Unpaper Towel Roll

Courtesy of Amazon

Marley’s Monsters Rolled Unpaper Towels come in a 12-pack or 24-pack and offer a variety of prints. They're made of single-ply 100 percent cotton flannel, with seared edges for durability. Their absorbency increases after the first few washes. These towels naturally cling together, bundled around a cardboard tube. They even can be used with most paper towel holders. This roll is pricier, but they can be used for months--maybe even years.

Marley’s Monsters is also ‘BRING rethink’ certified which means the company is practicing conservation and efficiency efforts in categories such as Water Conservation and Materials and Waste Management. These towels are handmade in Oregon.

Price at time of publish: $65

Best Wet Wipe Alternative

Saged.Home Reusable Disinfectant & Cleaning Wipes

Saged.Home Reusable Disinfectant & Cleaning Wipes

Courtesy of Goldune

Disinfectant wipes may be in demand, but that doesn't mean you have to use single-use disposable wipes. Goldune’s Reusable Disinfectant and Cleaning Wipes come with 18 cotton flannel wipes in a glass jar. The glass jar has fill lines for when you make your own cleaning solution from white vinegar, water, essential oils, and a little bit of vodka.

Price at time of publish: $47

Best Cloth Napkin

Coyuchi Sonoma Textured Organic Napkins

4.8
Coyuchi Sonoma Textured Organic Napkins

Courtesy of Coyuchi

Coyuchi’s Sonoma Textured Organic Napkins are reusable napkins that serve as a great replacement for the normal paper napkin at your dinner table. The set contains four napkins that are conveniently and amply-sized at 20 x 20 inches.

They're made from 100 percent organic cotton that's grown and woven in India. These napkins are also GOTS certified and made in a factory that recycles 98 percent of its wastewater. Like other reusable cloth towels or napkins, the product is machine-washable and can be used for years.

Price at time of publish: $58

Final Verdict

Our top pick to replace paper towels are the Mioeco Reusable Unpaper Towels. Or if you want something that's also fun and stylish, consider Three BlueBirds Swedish dishcloths, available in a wide variety of designs.

Why Trust Treehugger?

We strive to make it easier for our readers to live more sustainably, including researching and recommending the best alternatives to single-use disposable items. Author Gabriella Sotelo is a journalist who covers the environment, climate change, and agriculture.